President Vladimir Putin.
Russia has recognised the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Having done this, Vlad has sent in, so-called 'peacekeeping troops. Presumably, these troops will be keeping the peace, in the sense of protecting these regions, from any Ukrainian intervention. Or is this word, 'peacekeeping', just a cover for what it actually is, Russian intervention on Ukrainian territory. The question has to be asked is this Russian intervention on Ukrainian territory a prelude to a total Russian invasion?
It must be a nightmare for those in power in the West, guessing what Putin, is up to? Russians, in the past, have been great international Chess champions. It is not known, if Vlad himself, is good at Chess, however, it seems like a Chess player, Putin thinks about what he is going to do, before making a move. These moves, often catch the West out and leave the West playing catch up. When Russia launched an invasion into Crimea, it took the West, by surprise. Vlad is a crafty and stealthy operator.
Mr. Putin was pictured, sitting in the Kremlin speaking with his ministers and military leaders. Mr. Putin likes to do things for effect, when in front of the cameras. Like when meeting Macron, Mr. Putin sat at one end of a very long table, while Macron sat at the other end. This long table was meant to show the gulf between Mr. Putin and Western leaders like Macron. However, when meeting Allies like the leader of Byelorussia, the table is short meant to show the closeness of the two leaders. Likewise, when Vlad, was in that meeting with his officials was meant to emphasise his power and their total obedience. Everything this man does, like many Dictators is for effect.
Boris Johnson has announced that Russia will be hit with a "first barrage of sanctions" because of Russia's actions. Mr. Johnson has emphasised also, that Russia will be hit with even sterner sanctions, should Russia launch a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
Of course, Russia has threatened retaliation for any sanctions imposed. What could Russia do, to hit back, against sanctions? Well, the obvious one would be to cut off gas supplies to Europe, like Germany which is heavily or will be heavily dependent, on Russian gas.
Russian tanks have been seen in Donetsk, the UN has condemned Russia's latest actions, Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital has said it will not give in, and the British and Americans are ready to inflict another round of sanctions on Russia. British Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has said that Russia's latest actions have put all of Europe on notice.
Boris, right now, has stated diplomacy and peace, still has a chance. However, standing at the dispatch box, Boris described Putin as bent, on subjugating the Ukrainians to his will. Boris said the UK's resolve to defend Ukraine is unbreakable and it already has troops there. British troops alongside their NATO Allies are already in Ukraine training their forces on Western weapons already given to them. Boris has said, Russia will not be allowed to threaten the stability of Europe, as Hitler did. Sir Keir Starmer, has announced Labour supports the right of Ukraine to be free. Sir Keir poured scorn on Russia's alleged fear of NATO. If anything, it is the West and surrounding nations who should be afraid of Russia. Sir Keir said, Ukraine is a freedom-loving nation, that threatens no one and they are defending their nation, against Imperial Russian conquests. Sir Keir also said, Russian gas should be sanctioned and Russian criminals and their money should not be allowed to affect the UK. Sir Keir said the West must be united in the face of Russian aggression. Boris thanked Sir Keir for his support, a rare agreement, between Starmer and Johnson it seems.
The Russians have literally surrounded Ukraine by its armed forces. Ukrainians should war come, will fight, and will offer resistance, to any Russian occupation. We live in dangerous times. This is sure, the greatest threat to peace in Europe, since WWII.